According to the Haa Dzongdag Kinzang Dorji, the dzongkhag is going forward with the strategy of self sufficiency in vegetables all year round and ideally within the dzongkhag itself.
He said that the lockdown in the country happened when there were plenty of vegetables in the upper Haa. If this happened in winter, then Haa would have faced huge vegetable shortages especially in the absence of a good supply-chain at the inter dzongkhag levels.
“Learning the lessons, the dzongkhag is focusing on self sufficiency in vegetables all year round,” he said.
He said that the dzongkhag has its people living at 800 meters above sea level (masl) at the Amochu basin of Sangbaykha Dungkhag and also people depending on livelihood at an altitude above 5,000 masl under Bji gewog.
“This altitudinal variation means the dzongkhag can take advantage of producing vegetables year-round by rotating between the upper and lower dzongkhags,” he said.
He stressed that in the past, it was difficult to carry out the project due to lack of proper road connectivity network and also access between one village to another under the dungkhag.
Now with Haa-Samtse road and farm roads connection between villages, the project becomes easier to implement and they can market the product. This would not be possible in the absence of road connectivity.
He said, “The Dzongkhag has built a collection and distribution point at Haa Throm and similarly we are seeking support from a project to build one at the Dungkhag. These two centers will serve as collection and distribution point(collection points from the farmers and distribution points for the consumers) and will remain connected to link the supply and demand.”
He added that the dzongkhag has initiated the project at the Dungkhag. They have identified about 79 households having their private land in 5 chiwogs with approximately 79 acres.
“The vegetables identified are beans, brinjal, cauliflower, cabbages, onion, potatoes , and chillies . The dzongkhag is also taking three acres of land to grow vegetables to demonstrate to the farmers. The support to the farmers includes electric fencing, machinery, low cost greenhouse subsidy, plastic mulch, seeds, raising nursery and technical support, marketing and transportation,” he added.
He also added that the supply and demand between the upper four gewogs and lower two gewogs will be matched for a smooth market.
“The project is expected to meet the demands from schools, other institutions and public depending upon the seasons. The main focus of the dzongkhag is in development of livestock especially dairy products and kitchen garden across the dzongkhags,” he added.
Meanwhile, he said that due to very harsh and long winter in upper Haa, engaging the youth on a full time basis for agriculture is not economically feasible.
He added that Haa has been concentrating on the eco-tourism and Haa will be placed in a much better position to recover from the COVID 19 and take advantage of the situation in making Haa the best new potential destination for tourists post the pandemic.
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